by ICANS Editorial Team
When you’re going through a detox, it’s normal to want to train hard. Most people who are detoxing want to lose body fat, so it makes intuitive sense to opt for high-intensity programs that require a lot of sweat and effort.
This is generally a mistake.
Detoxification is a very nutrient dense process. If you are doing high-volume, high-intensity training your body is not going to be able to recover effectively, which will put stress on the adrenals. At the same time, without adequate nutrients the detox process will be impaired and your results will be compromised.
This tip will help you understand how detoxification works and give tips for training during a detox so that once you complete your detox, your adaptations will radically improve once you ramp up your training.
Detoxification is a three phase process. It’s critical that toxins go through all three phases so that they are safely eliminated from the body and don’t hang around doing damage and causing inflammation.
The first phase of detox occurs in the liver. The liver filters toxins out of the blood and binds a vitamin to each one. This new compound is very toxic and can cause a lot of oxidative damage if not shuttled into phase 2 of detoxification right away. To prevent this free radical damage, it is imperative to supply the body with an abundance of those vitamins.
Nutrients that can bind with toxins in phase 1 include B vitamins, vitamin A, C, D, or E, quercetin, and milk thistle, among others.
The second phase of detox also occurs in the liver when the molecule produced in phase 1 is converted to a new molecule by the addition of an amino acid or sulfurous compound. This compound is water-soluble, which makes it easier to eliminate. Nutrients that can bind to toxins in phase 2 include the amino acids glutamine, glycine, lysine, taurine, and carnitine, n-acetyl-cysteine, calcium glucarate, or sulfur compounds such as those found in cruciferous vegetables.
The third phase of detoxification occurs when the water-soluble compound is sent either to the kidney for elimination through the urine or to the bile ducts or intestinal lumen to be removed through the feces.
Complete elimination is a very nutrient-dense process. People who are fasting, doing a juice cleanse, or on a very restrictive diet won’t have the amino acids and other nutrients necessary and they end up recirculating toxins, unable to get rid of them. Intense training can exacerbate this situation, leading to greater oxidative stress and inflammation.
Here are training recommendations during a detox:
- Use lower volume programs with adequate rest periods. You can still use heavier loads and multi-joint movements but ensure proper technique and recovery between sets.
- Focus on refining training technique. When working with clients who are detoxing, this is the perfect time to build up their library of exercises.
- Work on forming healthy habits (good sleep hygiene, stress management, healthy eating at regular times). Once the detox is over, these habits will allow pay off with greater adaptations down the road.
- For clients who are detoxing, don’t stress them out with hardcore workouts. Focus on life coaching and work on postural stability, stretching, infra-red sauna, and other supportive modalities that can aid in detox.
- Support the detox with supplementation and nutrition.
- Programs for detox generally run for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Once the detox is over, adaptations will improve radically from future programs. As you get success with detox the body is ready for higher volume training.
- Nutritional Medicine Profile teaches an integrated approach to support the body during elimination. Nutrition, training, lifestyle, and supplementation strategies are covered along with diagnostic testing to monitor and assess progress.